March 8, 2014

Colorado Beats Fresno for First MPSF Victory

from press release

FRESNO, Calif. – The University of Colorado lacrosse team is making its inaugural season one to remember, claiming its first ever Mountain Pacific Sports Federation win here Saturday with a 12-6 victory over Fresno State.

With four Buffaloes scoring two or more goals, CU took a 10-1 lead into halftime and held off a 4-0 Fresno State run in the second half to claim its third straight victory, and its fist in conference play. The Buffs improve to 4-2 on the season and 1-1 MPSF. Fresno State remains winless in its last five outings, falling to 1-5 overall, 0-2 MPSF.

“Today was a great opportunity for us to play a great conference opponent,” CU head coach Ann Elliott said. “For us, conference games are so important. We wanted to come out strong from that first draw to set the tone and really just be aggressive offensively and defensively. I think our kids did a great job of that if the first half. Obviously Fresno State came out strong in the second half. We just had to keep fighting for 60 minutes to pull out the win.”

For the second consecutive game, Cali Castagnola led the way for the Buffs, scoring four goals. Marie Moore recorded her third hat trick of the young season and had a team-high five ground balls and three draw controls.

Sophomore Sarah Lautman and freshman Tori Link are hitting their offensive strides. Both scored their first goals in CU’s home opener against Regis, and have been finding the back of the net ever since. They each scored two goals against Fresno State, with Link’s second serving as the Buff’s final goal.

“I really think our offense is about seven people working together,” Elliott said. “Fresno State plays an aggressive defense at times where really for our offense to be successful we have to move the ball and find the opening. I think Cali was open a lot of times. We were able to get her the ball, and she was able to finish. She had another great day. I think it’s really about seven people out there every day working together.”

The Buffs played a solid game, outshooting the Bulldogs 27 to 25 and holding Fresno State to 18 looks on goal. The Buffs shined from the 8-meter, netting eight of their 12 goals off of free position shots. CU turned the ball over just nine times, and caused eight of Fresno State’s 16 turnovers. In the crease, Paige Soenksen grabbed 12 saves and contributed an assist right before halftime.

Colorado came out strong, grabbing a 4-0 lead less than 10 minutes into the game. Amelia Brown set the tone, scoring in the first three minutes. Castagnola found the back of the net twice to give the Buffs a 3-0 lead, and Lautman continued the scoring run.

With 20:01 remaining, Fresno State finally got on the board to trim CU’s lead to three, but the Bulldogs’ first half scoring would end there. In the final 19 minutes of the half, CU went on a 6-0 scoring run to take a 10-1 lead into the break. Castagnola got her hat trick from the 8-meter with 18:55 remaining to set the Buffs offensive attack into motion.

The Buffs continued to succeed in free position shots, with Moore getting back-to-back FPS goals and Link netting one while CU was a man down. Colorado would get its two assists of the game in the final seven minutes before halftime, with Katie Macleay finding Moore at 6:54 and Soenksen assisting Lautman at 1:49.

Coming out of the break, Fresno State found their stride on both sides of the ball, scoring four consecutive goals and outscoring CU five to two. Carol Dineen-Carlson wasted little time, going unassisted in the first 1:08. Kara Concheck, who led the Bulldogs with a hat trick, was an integral piece of second half surge, scoring off an FPS and netting one off a Marcy Levatino assist to trim CU’s lead to six.

“We just wanted our kids to stick to the game plan,” Elliott said. “Out of halftime, Fresno State came out strong and they attacked. They were down and they needed to score goals. Our kids just weren’t ready. They weren’t focused and ready and we didn’t stick to our game plan in that first few minutes. I thought after our timeout we were able to kind of get back to our defensive game plan. We were able to be aggressive and really play together. That helped us out down the stretch.”

CU finally got their chance to respond with 14:33 remaining, with Castagnola scoring her fourth. Link netted another at the 13:21 mark, extending CU’s lead back to seven to give the Buffs a 12-5 advantage.

Neither team would score for over 12 minutes as the clock wound down in the second half. Fresno State broke the drought with 1:44 remaining, with Anjelica Fuccillo scoring an FPS goal, but CU had already solidified its victory.  

The Buffs conclude their three-game road trip with a swing out east. First, CU takes on Massachusetts at 2 p.m. MT on Friday, March 14. Next up is New Hampshire. The Buffs face the UNH Wildcats on Sunday, March 16. First draw is at 10 a.m. MT.

“We’ve got to get back to campus, rest up tomorrow and then really get back at it,” Elliott said. “UMass, who we play on Friday, they’re a great team. They’re in the top 10 right now. They’re playing well. They have a lot of weapons and a lot of threats. They play aggressive all over the field. UNH is the same way. Both teams are extremely well-coached. They play hard, and we’ve got to just start focusing in on ourselves and our playing together on the offense and the defense and supporting each other and getting ready to play a full 60 minutes.”

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